Hickory Art Museum: Folk Art

Was first introduced to folk art in Wilson, North Carolina, in Vollis Simpson’s Whirligig Park. Became intrigued and then came upon Abby Rockefeller’s vast and complete collection at the newly opened Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg. This is the creme de la creme of this art, and if you enjoy these pictures take a trek there. Why do I like this art? Well, it makes me smile, and in some circumstances laugh, and during these times we all need to laugh.

All that said, what is folk art?

Folk art is an expression of community life, made by untrained artisans in mediums such as quilts, toys, jewelry, and other items of utilitarian value. It is decorative and colorful. Grandma Moses of Vermont, is an artist of this genre. Let’s take a look at what the Hickory Museum has to offer. It is sublime.

Colonial Soldier

A close up of the family behind the soldier

Other samplings

Since I mentioned Grandma Moses of Vermont, this is the Grandma Moses of North Carolina.

Meet Minnie Reinhardt of Catawba County, North Carolina. This lovely lady began her career at 77, with a Christmas present of art supplies from her daughter. She was non-stop after that. Two of her works grace her picture.

Lesson learned – we can all begin a new career in our senior years.

Another interesting work..

Manimal, by Jef Raasch, 2011. This Milwaukee based artist gifted this interesting work to the museum. In the bio of the work he states, “My sculpture represents the symbiosis of life; all creatures mixing together..” So true we need to mix.

And let’s close with what started my interest..

Inside the Museum..

Hickory Complex

This complex of buildings in Hickory is interesting. It combines a newly built library, with a choral society building, symphony headquarters, and an art and science museum. The museums are located within a former grade school, a great repurposing of space.

The Library

The Symphony area

The Science Museum – Due to time constraints unable to visit, but for $10 admission it’s a bang for your buck as it includes an aquarium with purchase. Great place for a visit with children as has many interactive exhibits am told.

Next:  Art museum

Historic Hickory: Maple Grove

In Hickory, North Carolina, Maple Grove, is one of the Catawba County Historical properties. For 120 years Hickory has been the Furniture Capital of the World. It is a delight of gracious homes.

Sadly, not all web sites were updated and I arrived to a closed home, however, the occupants answered the phone and guided me to other open sites in the area which will be told in future blogs, so Read On…

Lesson to all in a Pandemic: Call first!

Some history of the home.. Built in 1883 this Italianate style home has many original furnishings and period pieces according to their web site. In window peeks the home has much to offer and will return.

Always one to think a bad turn is never such, a sign on the property lawn intrigued me. The Hickory Landmark Society is having their Romance of the Garden Tour on May 22nd, 2021.. Check out their web site for more information and am hopeful to attend. See you there… https://hickorylandmarks.org/home-and-garden-tour/

A picture from their web site… looks like a great tour

Biltmore Trails

Bought an annual pass for Biltmore.  Cost with tax $105., and glad I did.  This allows entry to the property which includes trails, a 10% discount on food/purchases, admission to the house, wine tasting, and priority booking for concerts and the like.   It is a 45 mile trek from home base but after 3 nights dealing with psychotic patients it is a welcome refuge.

Pictures of what lies along the trails.

Belgian Horses


Canadian Geese

Watch these geese they own the road and are very protective parents..

Streams and Fields..

While sad to go one leaves refreshed and uplifted..

The Gate House Exit

Never forgetting the memories..

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Don’t you just love that tail!

Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Dolly is quite a business lady. According to the internet she is worth over $600 million. WOW! What a feat for a country girl. In traveling this area everything is Dolly, however it should be and the State of Tennessee needs to honor her for all she has done for their economy with her enterprises. Go, Dolly!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Stampede was another of Dolly’s ventures. Here Dolly has developed a dinner show with covered wagons, dancing ladies in formal dresses, a magic show, and comedians. There is a friendly rivalry between North and South with the arena split in half. While done in fun I found this irritating.

Food was tasty with delicious soup, corn bread, a small baked chicken, pork slice, and apple dumpling desert. Then there was unlimited sweet tea or lemonade. Service was excellent and prompt with waiters and waitresses scurry between the aisles in the dark arena.

All in all a fun night at $80 per person for the meal, and 2 hours of entertainment.

Dollywood – The Disney of Tennessee

Since Dollywood is a stone’s throw from Knoxville decided to stop by. Her theme park has been around 35 years and attendance remains robust. It has much to offer and is less costly than a day at Disney at $80. admission.

There is a variety of rides.

My favorite was the train ride.

The Park has much retail and everything is Dolly.

The park has a very Christian flare with gospel music venues, church service on Sunday, and definitely no cursing in the Park.

What I particularly liked was Dolly’s museum. Here you could spend hours checking out Dolly memorabilia. However, since time was limited here are a few pics to check out..

There were craft demonstrations which would interest children.

Make sure to stop and see the eagle show.

All in all Dolly gives you a bang for your buck in her Park.

Knoxville Arts Scene: Theater & Beyond

When scoping the internet for Knoxville fun came across a lively theater scene. While much was closed during the pandemic one play was available and I attended. The play was not a fit but acting good and with covid precautions in place the 20 member audience enjoyed.

Knoxville has some interesting history in the arts scene. Here are some fun facts stolen from the Mayor’s web site.

  • Quentin Tarantino was born here..
  • The 2000 movie “Road Trip” had portions filmed here.
  • Mary Costa, the voice of Sleeping Beauty was born here.
  • Burt Reynolds 2017 movie, The Last Movie Star shot here.
  • Christy, the 1995 television series was filmed here.
  • Brad Renfro, the child star in The Client grew up here.
  • Patricia Neal grew up in Knoxville.

And a few non- theater fun facts.

  • Mountain Dew was developed in Knox.
  • Knoxville is known as the Marble City.
  • Their zoo is the Red Panda Capitol of the World as this species breeds here with success.
Another freebie available for tourists..

Brushy Mountain Retail

After your Brushy Mountain Pen visit enjoy all the retail area has to offer…

Stop for a tasting. . Delicious liquors and flavored moonshine are made here on the mountain. The booze is great, reasonable, and makes for great Christmas gifts. Who wouldn’t want a bottle of booze from a prison?? What a talking point with grandma…

And take advantage of the tasting prior to purchase. Only 5 bucks and buy a bottle they deduct the 5 with purchase…

And for those who don’t imbibe there are t-shirts, hats and the like available..

Then stop at the Warden’s Table for some prison fare..

Eat with the warden,

or in a cell…

What fun… Then stop outside and check out the prison bus..

And see where all this booze begins..

But the best part..

Wave good bye and be grateful you are on the right side of the law.

Brushy Mountain State Pen

This Penitentiary was Tennessee’s first maximum security prison. It operated from 1896 to 2009 housing 501 harden criminals. Perhaps the most famous of those criminals were James Earl Ray, the killer of Martin Luther King. He had a foiled escape from the prison. And you may recognize it’s exterior from the movie Green Mile as it was used as backdrop.

Let’s check it out..


The Entrance
Cell Block
The Cell
Mail anyone??

Views from the Yard


The Gym

Some prison art to decorate the mess..

While on the prison grounds see the movie and museum located in the prison chapel.

Then return to the Visitor Center where tickets were purchased to relax from your visit to the Pen.